Good customer service is crucial to the success of any business. It also happens to be one of the hardest things to ‘get right’, even for the most seasoned of brands. Imagine spending eight hours a day fixing problems you didn’t cause in the first place. Now imagine that your hands are tied in a million different ways and you’re unable to resolve the bulk of the customer complaints that are on the rise. This scenario is real, widespread, and is likely the reason for high attrition rates in the customer service industry.
This is why empowering a customer service team can be key to the overall success of any company. While we could go on for days about the benefits that come from giving your call center employees autonomy, here are the top three reasons you should actively work to support your customer service employees.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The Ritz-Carlton is a prime example of a company that puts their money where their mouth is when it comes to empowering their customer service employees. This hospitality company gives each employee up to $2000 (per guest!) to resolve any customer service complaint or even just provide them with a nice surprise for their loyalty to the brand. Now, you might be thinking: What kind of impact does this have on the company’s bottom line? Well, as it turns out, it has a great one, as the average lifetime value of a Ritz Carlton customer is $250,000. The Ritz-Carlton is a large luxury brand, so while the numbers may not seem significant to a smaller brand, the concept can certainly be applied and scaled appropriately.
With policies like this in place, call center employees are given free rein to assist customers and even provide added bonuses when a customer has been particularly understanding or loyal. Imagine what just a small bonus (like a $50 credit) could do to diffuse a tense situation, making it less stressful for both employees and customers.
Better Customer Insights
Call center agents are among the most important employees in any organization because they have a direct line to customers on a daily basis; they also have insight into the key pain points customers are experiencing and their feedback on the products and/or services being provided. This is why these employees should be part of monthly reporting meetings, product development, and general company strategy. If management is not tapping into this resource not only will customer service representatives feel undervalued, but the company will be missing out on valuable information collected from conversations with customers.
Improved Company Culture
Anyone who has worked in the service industry knows it can be a draining role. Dealing with angry and sometimes unreasonable customers requires patience and more than a few deep breaths. Call center agents certainly know this: In the customer service industry, they occupy a very special place as some of the most patient people in the workplace. Companies have an obligation to ensure that call center agents are recognized for the work they do in high-pressure scenarios to keep customers happy and loyal to the brand. Ensuring that, at the very least, call center agents feel empowered enough to do their job properly can go a long way to increasing employee satisfaction. This increased satisfaction leads to improved company culture and less employee turnover. It’s also true that employees who are passionate about the brand or company they work for are more effective at creating passionate customers. Basically: Everyone wins.
Customer service reps and call center agents deserve to be recognized for their patience and hard work. Moreover, they have a wealth of information to provide to management teams as the frontline employees who are interacting with customers every day. That’s why it is crucial that companies work to develop policies and practices that empower these employees. With these policies in place, companies can expect to see an increase in customer satisfaction, better reporting on customer feedback, and improved company culture.